MIAMI — Police thought maybe the girls had been slipped a date-rape drug.
But Tuesday, authorities in the Bahamas said blood tests given to two girls -- who claim a Florida International University baseball star and his friends raped them -- showed only that they had been drinking.
Three men, FIU slugger Garrett Wittels, 20, an infielder who currently holds the second-longest hitting streak in NCAA history, at 56 consecutive games, and Jonathan Oberti and Robert Rothschild, both 21, have been charged with raping two 17-year-old American tourists Dec. 20. They admit having sex with the girls, but insist it was consensual.
They, along with Steven Tromberg, 21, were at the Atlantis Resort and Casino on Paradise Island celebrating the 21st birthday of David Shapiro.
Although police questioned Tromberg and Shapiro, the two were released and have returned to Miami-Dade County.
"[David] went to celebrate his birthday,'' said his father, Steven Shapiro. "It was a family trip. And several of his friends from childhood were invited along.''
Wittels, Oberti and Rothschild were released on $10,000 bond each. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 18 before Magistrate Derence Rolle-Davis.
Rape kits were performed on both of the alleged victims at Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau. Blood samples taken at the time to help authorities determine whether they had been drugged showed no evidence of a date-rape drug, according to a source close to the investigation.
``Because the girls said they couldn't remember what happened, they took blood samples from the girls,'' said the source. ``There was no evidence found of any drugs -- just alcohol.''
All five men also submitted DNA samples to match against any possible evidence left at the scene of the alleged crime.
Police found five condoms and vomit from one of the girls on the hotel room floor, the source said.
The father of one of the girls called police after his daughter and her companion returned to their hotel room, the source said.
Attempts to reach the girls and their parents Tuesday were unsuccessful.
Sources say surveillance video from Dec. 20 shows the teenage girls, whose families were also staying at Atlantis, drinking at the resort's Dragon's Ultra Lounge and occasionally kissing each other when the five friends approached the bar area.
The source says the video shows the girls gesturing for the young men to join them, and that Wittels, Rothschild and Oberti obliged.
However, Steven Shapiro said his son and Tromberg remained in the bar and casino area.
``I went to bed at quarter till 2 [a.m.],'' Steven Shapiro said. ``But I can tell you that David remained in a gaming area till well past the time this incident is said to have occurred, as did Steven. In fact, Steven sat up in the gaming area talking to my wife's sister till after 3 a.m.''
The source close to the investigation confirmed surveillance video shows Shapiro and Tromberg in the casino.
SEX IN HOTEL ROOM
The three accused men took the girls back to one of their hotel rooms, where Wittels and Oberti each separately engaged in sex with one girl, and Rothschild had sex with both, the source said.
In the Bahamas, the age of legal consent for sex is 16. But the drinking age is 18.
The rape charges stem from the girls having been drinking; it was believed they might have been so impaired that they were unable to consent to the sex.
A COMMON CHARGE
Wayne Munroe, a Bahamian attorney who is representing all five friends, said Tuesday that it is ``easy'' to get arrested for rape in the Bahamas.
``If somebody is charged with rape, the general inclination is to think there must be something to it,'' Munroe said.
According to Munroe, the Bahamas has ``an appallingly high acquittal rate'' for rapes. But, he insisted that many of those charges should not have been filed in the first place.
Munroe said this arrest-first, ask-questions-later policy evolved from a complaint by a former U.S. ambassador who alleged the Bahamian police did not take rape cases seriously.
A U.S. State Department official on Tuesday said, ``We regularly engage with host country officials through our embassies and consulates around the world to encourage and support the strengthening of institutions and the rule of law protecting the welfare of all individuals who may have been victims of crime and to ensure the protection of the rights under local law of those accused of crimes.''
Wittels, an infielder on the FIU men's baseball team, holds the second-longest hitting streak in NCAA history, at 56 consecutive games.
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